ESPN Flips Out When Arcade Fire’s Win Butler Praises Canada’s Health Care System


ESPN, surrender your cool credentials.

You do not interrupt an indie rock hero just named the most-valuable player in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, especially to redirect him to talk about “celebrity stuff, not politics.”

While being interviewed after winning the 2016 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, Arcade Fire’s Win Butler used the opportunity to launch into a political speech lauding Canada’s health care system. But ESPN reporter Sage Steele was having none of it.

While holding a massive gold trophy, Butler, whose Montreal-based band has won numerous awards and international praise, brought up health care and the U.S. presidential election.

“The U.S. has a lot it could learn from Canada,” said Butler, who was born in the U.S. and moved to Montreal for college. “Health care, taking care of people.” 

Steele swooped in for the steal.

“We’re talking about celebrity stuff, not politics,” Steele interrupted as ESPN cut away. “Congratulations on your MVP!”

Team Canada beat the U.S., 74 to 63, in the celebrity game, which kicks off All-Star weekend. Butler scored 15 points and collected 14 rebounds for team Canada.

Vaughn Ridley via Getty Images

Canada has a socialized health care system that provides care to all of its 31.5 million citizens. All “medically necessary and hospital physician services” are covered, with no money out of pocket for citizens. The government covers about 70 percent of all medical expenses, the remaining covered by private spending, as Indiana University’s Aaron Carroll explains. The plans are financed and managed by each of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories, and share many characteristics and standards of coverage.

The Canadian health care system ends up being less costly than in the U.S., which has the most expensive system in the world. While Canada’s health care system has been praised by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canadians have to wait longer than Americans to receive care.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to state that it is Canada’s ten provinces and three territories that finance and manage statewide health insurance programs. The programs are not managed at the federal level.

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